This was to be my one and only full distance race for 2011 and it felt like I had forgotten what this distance was like to race as it has been 11months since my last.
This race grew more exciting when I learnt my friend Susan Zody (Zodes) would be joining me and Jeff was able to come and watch me for the first time this year. To top it off, two very good friends of mine, Simone and Sue were coming along as my cheering squad….fun times were guaranteed with this crew!
Plus the race was held at Cedar Point Amusement Park= some of the fastest rollercoasters and rides in the US!
Krista (from REV3) had organized an awesome home stay for Jeff and I, Mike and Linda who opened their home to us and Jeff loved it as Mike is an NFL fan!
I arrived Tuesday, right before the 4 day storm front came in! It made it a little more difficult to get out and train but didn’t matter too much as I managed to time it in between the pour downs.
I slept a lot and Zodes and I drove the bike course and swam in Lake Eerie as we wanted to test out the water quality and temperature. The water was like mud until at least chest height and was like a black out when I dove under the small waves on my way out but the temperature was borderline for a non-wetsuit swim. My new Profile Design wetsuit felt good though!
The town of Sandusky is small and quiet with more food places than any other stores and a lot of beautiful countryside. The locals are really friendly and embraced the athletes and the race with open arms and were out supporting us as we swam, rode and ran by.
The amusement park is one of the town’s main attractions during summer and just watching the speed at which some of these rides go will make you feel sick
I was feeling excited to race which was a good sign and was ready to go race morning. Before starting the race we had a minute’s silence to honor the 9/11 ten year anniversary and stood towards the 2700 American flags REV3 had put in the sand and the statue of the Unknown Soldier. The national anthem followed and everyone was pumped to make this day a great day to honor those who have lost their lives.
The swim was a beach start, the thick mud making it a slow entry into the water ….I fell flat on my face running in…..but once out, nice and calm and I swam 99% of the course by myself with Kathleen on my feet.
Onto the bike and weather was perfect and as the sun broke through the clouds, it lit up the top of corn fields and made for a beautiful picture. The bike course had ample room which made for a fair race and no drafting and the small towns we passed through were filled with locals cheering everyone on. Local farmers were out mowing their lawns, setting up their fruit and vegetable stands and watching us pass by…..probably wondering why lycra clad men and women on bikes are riding so early on a Sunday!
Jeff, Sim and Sue had driven out on the bike course to cheer Zodes and I on and to take some cool race shots and photos of the course. Simone’s voice stands out more than anyone’s as she always says ‘come on Matey’. Whilst Sue is trying to take the awesome action shots she does and cheering at the same time and Jeff is yelling splits to me. They make a great team!
My stomach locked up in the first part of the bike, making it hard to get any nutrition down and I rode with Kathleen most of the way but the last 10 miles she gained on me as I started to feel the lack of calories taking its toll but kept telling myself my guts would settle soon. Not sure if it was the water from Lake Eerie in there or just one of those things.
I was 6mins down from first place and less than 3mins from Kathleen going onto the run and grabbing my swim bag instead of my run bag in transition didn’t help!
My guts were still locked up so I turned to coke on the run in the hope it would help settle it but it didn’t so I knew I would just have to suck it up for a few hours or so. I remembered back to the times when I had eaten and shortly after gone for a run…and then regretted it the entire way as I would burp it up…think we have all done that at one point?!
Jeff was out on Mike’s bike to give me splits but went missing for at least 1/3 of the run. He decided to join Mike and Dan (his son) for a couple of beers at a local pub and watch a little football….i wondered where he had disappeared to!!!
Sue got a ride out on the run from one of the moto guys to take some photos whilst Sim stayed at the park to cheer us on as we came in from the bike and at the run around on the run.
Kathleen ended up having to pull out of the race with GI problems and Malaika stayed strong on the marathon to win the race. I finished second and gave it all I could on the day which is all I can do.
Everyone that ran down the finishing chute was given the option to carry the US flag with them in honor of 9/11. I think every athlete did, even if they could barely put one foot in front of the other, when they took that flag in their hand, it gave them the energy to hold it high and run with their head up and feet barely touching the ground….something to witness and it certainly gave me goose bumps. There was a girl from Team RWB (Red, White and Blue) ran the half marathon (of the half distance race) with a huge American flag to honor her fellow serviceman and women and another lady ran with her son’s dog tags around her neck…..goose bumps again!
Erik gave us a ride on the 4 wheeler back to Zody’s hotel room for us to eat, shower and put the legs up for a bit before going back to the finish line. It was great to see the athlete’s run down the finish chute with their families, holding hands in victory and really celebrating their journey together. The kids were given a medal too for crossing the line….very cool
The REV3 team did a fantastic job once again at putting on a fantastic race and making sure everyone had a great experience by opening the theme park for the athletes and their families for free and holding a kids adventure race on the Saturday.
Eric and Charlie of REV3
I really want to say a huge thank you to my support crew who help make my job more enjoyable. My husband Jeff , who has always been by my side and extremely patient. Sue and Sim for the friendship and support. My training partners who make long rides an adventure, swims in the ocean more fun and runs fly by and to my coach Siri for her relentless pursuit to keep my training exciting, challenging, enjoyable and an adventure.
Zodes, Sue, Sim, Me, and Jeff
My family and friends are the ones who make my day and who encourage me to challenge myself.
My sponsors who believe in me and support me, I am truly grateful. For without it, I would not be able to do what I love and am passionate about and hopefully influence others to lead a positive, healthy and balanced life style.
Saucony, Wilier, Nathan Hydration, Profile Design, DOMA coffee, Reynolds wheels, Rudy Project, Udo’s Oil, John Cobb Cycling, Premier Nutrition, Garmin, Continental Tires, Computrainer, RIDE Cyclery and Engine swim…i could never do this sport without all the support you give me, and for that I am thankful.